The Firefly and Serenity Database
Ep shindig sc147


Guest star(s)

Jane Espenson


Vern Gillum


November 1, 2002

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Shindig is the fourth episode of the Firefly TV series. It was first aired by Fox on November 1, 2002.


The show opens with Mal and Jayne playing a game of pool with some men on the planet Santo while Inara watches from the bar. After finding out the men are slave-traders, Mal picks one's pocket and a fight ensues.

Back on Serenity, Inara books a regular client named Atherton Wing for several days. The crew lands on Persephone, a planet where they seek to refuel and find new work. While walking in the street, they stop in front of a dress shop. Kaylee has her eye on a fluffy pink dress, and mentions how Inara is the only person she knows who has the opportunity to wear such elegant clothing. Mal gets impatient. He patronizingly asks what she would do with such a dress, and compares her to "a sheep walkin' on its hind legs". Offended, Kaylee drives back to the ship with Wash and Zoë, leaving Mal and Jayne behind.

The two men are contacted by Badger, Mal's former contractor who had previously backed out of a deal they had in the episode Serenity. He tells Mal and Jayne that he seeks to do business with a man named Warwick Harrow, but he won't deal with Badger directly so he wants Mal to contact him at a party later that night- the same one that Inara is attending with Atherton.

At the party, it is revealed that Atherton has offered to have Inara live with him on Persephone as his personal Companion, but she has not decided either way. Mal arrives with Kaylee on his arm. She is wearing the fluffy pink dress from the shop, which Mal purchased as an apology. He goes to look for Harrow while Kaylee "questions" the buffet table.

Back on Serenity, Simon, Book, and Jayne are playing a game of Tall Card for chores while River walks around. When she begins to tear labels bearing the Blue Sun logo off of the food, Simon and Book get up to calm her while Jayne steals Book's winnings. Zoë and Wash enjoy their own private party where "the dress code's easier", and Wash knows all the steps.

Kaylee meets a group of girls at the party who criticize her dress for looking like it was bought from a store. She finds herself fitting in more with the men at the party. Meanwhile, Mal speaks to Harrow, who is hesitant to deal with someone associated with Badger. Atherton comes up to them and greets Harrow, while Mal asks Inara for a dance. While dancing, he and Inara discuss Atherton's proposal and they agree that he has no say in what she does. Atherton attempts to pull Inara away and Mal rebukes him, leading Atherton to call Inara a whore which Mal responds to by punching him in the face. Unbeknownst to him, this has entered him into a challenge with Atherton which he then accepts, and they must duel with swords in the morning. Harrow is intrigued by Mal's "mussing up" Atherton's face, and says he might deal with him if he survives the duel - which is unlikely due to Atherton's skill.

Back on Serenity, Badger boards the ship with his men to hold the crew on board hostage until the duel is over so they won't attempt to save Mal.

Inara sneaks into Mal's room at night and offers a means of escape, but Mal refuses and instead Inara stays to help him practice dueling for the morning. They argue about Mal punching Atherton for implying Inara's a whore while he keeps calling her one to her face. Mal informs her that he did so because, while he doesn't respect Inara's profession, Atherton didn't respect Inara herself. Mal later asks her not to stay with Atherton if it should end up that he dies in the morning.

On board Serenity, the crew tries to think of a distraction to get Badger's attention while they take out his men when River enters and (putting on a similar accent to his) pretends to be from Badger's home world, criticizing his delusions of social standing and calling him a "sad little king of a sad little hill" before going back to her room. Jayne points out that River's performance was the kind of distraction they could have used.

In the morning, Mal and Atherton duel and it's clear that Atherton is more skilled. He breaks Mal's sword and is about to deliver the death strike when Inara says that she'll stay on Persephone if he lets Mal live. While Atherton is distracted, Mal takes the opportunity to hit him with the hilt of his sword, then taking his unbroken sword and holding Atherton to the ground. After poking him with his sword two times, Mal spares Atherton's life. As he recovers, Atherton realizes that Inara never intended to stay with him and threatened to put her out of work. Inara then says that Atherton has earned a black mark in the Companion registry and will never be able to contract with another one; or as Harrow puts, if he wants to court women, he'll have to rely on his "winning personality". Harrow is impressed at how hard Mal was willing to fight to protect Inara, and tells him he will have his cargo on Serenity later that day.

On Serenity, the crew have finally come up with a plan to knock out Badger and his men however just as they're about to implement it Mal arrives back and Badger's men leave. That night, Inara expresses her gratitude to Mal for standing up for her and says that she wouldn't have accepted Atherton's offer. The conversation is made to show the viewer that neither Mal nor Inara fit fully into their worlds. As Inara remarks, "Why would I want to leave Serenity?" Mal responds "can't think of a reason", and it is shown that Harrow's cargo is a herd of cattle.


Behind the scenes[]

  • As the crew begin to wander through the streets of Persephone, a ship with an oval front section followed by two square sections lands in the background. This ship is the Starlight Intruder from the Star Wars graphic novel series "Dark Empire".
  • Roughly 6 and a half minutes into the episode, it can be seen that Mal's laughter was dubbed afterward. When Inara says "... more conversation, and somewhat less petty theft and getting hit with pool cues", Mal laughs uncomfortably, but the mouth of Nathan Fillion is not moving.
  • The cattle seen in the last shot weren't really there since cows won't walk on grates or even flat surfaces with a grate pattern, so they had to be edited in.
  • Inara's dress at the ball was made from costume designer Shawna Trpcic's wedding dress.
  • Jewel Staite (Kaylee) mentioned in an interview that this episode was one of her favorites to film.


Mandarin Translation[]

(Special thanks to

  • "Wei! [Hey!]" - Wright, when the pool balls flicker.
  • "Course they won't discover it till they go order their next round of drinks." "Wei! [Hey!]" "Good drinker, that one." - Mal, interjected by Wright, the slaver he has just robbed.
  • "I'll see you soon, bao bei [sweetheart]." - Atherton to Inara.
  • "He's a quality gent. Nose in the air like he never wen guo pi [smelled a dog fart]." - Badger, speaking of Sir Warwick Harrow.
  • "I'm placing value in the fact that stick up your pigu [rectum] is about as large as the one Harrow's got." - Badger, to Mal.
  • "Lao peng you, ni kan qi lai hen you jingshen. [Old friend, you look very energetic!]" - Inara, to an elderly gentlemen at the ball.
  • "You belong here, Inara, not on that flying piece of goushi [dog crap]... What, piece of goushi? But it is a piece of goushi!" - Atherton.
  • "Oh, goushi [dog crap]!" - Inara, when she sees Mal arrive at the ball.
  • "Oh, xiexie [thank you], Captain!" - Kaylee, when Mal allows her to head to the buffet.
  • "You ought to see to your girl." "Shenme? [What?]" - Kaylee responds incredulously to Banning's statement.
  • "Cai bu shi. [No way.] The extenders ain't braced." - Kaylee, about the 80-04.
  • "This yuben de [stupid] duel is the result of the rules of your society, not mine!" - Mal to Inara.

Episode scripts[]

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